Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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I'm no expert when it comes to naming things but I suspect Man at Arms TD's name is underselling it. It's quite an immediately forgettable and generic name, and while the game might combine two beloved genres, it's far from a generic title.
Man at Arms TD combines the collectible card game with tower defense - a surely unbeatable combination given the love that many have of both genres. That's actually very nearly true too, as Man at Arms TD offers a great experience that's familiar yet with an original spark of its own.
Players take control of an army as they work their way through multiple chapters in order to, well, defend themselves from even more attacks. Admittedly the story is pretty uninspiring but rarely does anyone play a tower defense title for a gripping narrative. The focus here is on defending one's base against a variety of enemies from typical grunts to flying creatures, lumbering orcs and small, fast-paced minions. Players are given a mixture of units at first, comprising of archers, soldiers, artillery, and mages. It's not long before new units open up though, such as trebuchets and dragon towers.
New units are gained through the acquisition of cards, with players only able to equip so many cards in their deck at any time. Plenty of different units become available, including upgrades to old favorites, so there's the need to be careful with the balance to ensure that one is able to deal with any threat. As the game progresses it's possible to combine these cards as well as sell them for profit. In each case though, one should be careful not to rush into anything as some cards are much harder to gain again than others.
It's a keen mix of two strategic genres and it works well for Man at Arms TD. Alongside colorful graphics, easy to use controls, the option to duke it out with other players, and messing around with a level editor, there's a lot to appreciate here. The only significant issue I came across is that, despite costing $4.99, the game also offers in-app purchases to speed up one's card deck expansion. While it's not essential to progress (with expansion possible through regular play), it is rather cheeky given the price tag already there.
Despite that though, Man at Arms TD has done an excellent job of re-invigorating tried and tested formulas. So it's tough to be annoyed for too long.